The First Lady and the Paralympic Games

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I recently had the honor of hearing First Lady Michelle Obama pay tribute to over 200 service men and women at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs at the opening of a six-day sports competition for wounded active duty soldiers and veterans.

These wounded soldiers are using sports not only as a vehicle for rehabilitation, but as a way to challenge themselves physically, mentally and spiritually.  Maybe someday some of the athletes in attendance will go on to compete for Team USA in the Paralympic Games.

Not familiar with the Paralympic Games?  They happen two weeks after the Olympic Games and are the pinnacle of the career of Paralympic athletes all around the world.  Paralympic athletes are elite athletes with a physical impairment including mobility disability, amputations, visual impairments and more.  The vision of the International Paralympic Committee is to enable Paralympic athletes to achieve sporting excellence and inspire and excite the world.  And London 2012 will be the biggest Paralympic Games in history!

According to the IPC website, “The Paralympic Games showcase the achievements of athletes with an impairment to a global audience and act as a primary vehicle to change societal perceptions and leave lasting legacies”.

The Athlete Career Program administered by Adecco serves both U.S. Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls.  The Paralympic athletes currently working in the program include some of our biggest success stories.  These athletes not only inspire their co-workers, they also can bring a diversity of thought and perspective to the workplace.  Adecco believes this type of diversity and inclusion is not only good for business but having a diverse workforce will be critical for the success of companies in today’s ever changing business landscape.

Michelle Obama summarized it best: “Every competitor here has faced adversity that most of us can never imagine.  No matter what obstacles or setbacks you face, you just keep moving forward. You just keep pushing yourselves to succeed in ways that just mystify and leave us all in awe.”

Less than 100 days until Team USA competes at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.  The world will be amazed and inspired by these champions! While you’re at it, check out Adecco’s own Allison Jones, a winter and summer Paralympic medalist, as she prepares for London!